Remote Interpreting is Important to the Courts
Having an interpreter onsite in the courtroom may at times be necessary, but it’s not always possible. In 2015, courts in Indiana heard 14,000 cases that required an interpreter for one party or another. But it can be a lot of work to schedule an interpreter on-site — there are sometimes scheduling conflicts, and qualified interpreters of the needed language are sometimes impossible to find in the local community.
In the last few decades, many court systems turned to over-the-phone (OPI) interpreting services to access interpreters remotely. On-site language services are more easily supported in city centers, but both larger cities and smaller towns must often rely on remote interpreting services to absolutely ensure the availability of an interpreter when one is needed.
Now courts are adopting Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) platforms, as well. OPI and VRI offer on-demand interpreting services in hundreds of languages at affordable rates.
California and Indiana Adopt VRI Solutions
California is a widely multilingual state. It has one of the largest populations of Spanish speakers in the U.S., but also has significant communities of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Hmong speakers among others.
On the other side of the country, Indiana has more modest populations of LEP peoples when compared to California, but the need for qualified interpreters in the courts of this state could be more acute. Because of the smaller populations of speakers of languages other than English, courts may rely on remote interpreting solutions more than they would in a more diverse location like California.
That’s why both states are integrating VRI services into their language access programs. The visual aspect of video remote interpreting facilitates the conveyance of meaning. During complex legal proceedings, VRI helps both the interpreter and the LEP understand what’s happening in the court.
A Trend Nationwide Trend toward VRI
This movement toward wide adoption of VRI in the courts mirrors a wider trend toward integrating video into business offerings and customer service. Posting videos on social media is just the tip of the iceberg. Video is helping connect customer service representatives with clients looking for help, and it connects rural healthcare facilities with specialists found in larger hospitals.
For courts in large metropolises or in small rural localities, VRI offers an effective, technologically-forward solution for interacting with people who speak English less than very well.
And while no one should expect to virtually show up for a court appearance any time soon, video remote conferencing is already reshaping the way judicial systems access resources and promote justice.